We continue on with our Awards Week with the full-length Vice Versa interview that we didn’t have enough room to run in our July Am issue with Best Team and Best Video nominee Sk8mafia’s Wes Kremer. There’s unseen photos in here too! Find the rest of the nominees HERE, and remember, all the winners will be officially announced at the awards on June 15th and right here on skateboarding.com, so stay tuned.
Words by Blair Alley, photography by Mike Blabac & Dan Connelly
Here we are with Wes, two years later. A lot has changed. He's a fixture with DC and Sk8mafia, an archtype for ams around the world. His laid back demeanor and natural talent have gotten him this far, but will it take him to the pro ranks? It's worth mentioning, exactly two years ago Wes had quite an interesting interview in our Am Issue and this time around, the interview was conducted just two days before his Skatebaording Is Forever part premiered. Here's Wes a few years older and wiser.
Wallie 180 to fakie five-0, frontside half-Cab out.
Two years later, here we are in the same place—your bedroom—doing an interview for another Am Issue. What's changed in the last two years?
Not much man. As you can see you're still in the same room, same pictures on the wall, same videos in the VCR. Same steez man.
Are there still the go-to videos you watch before you skate?
Oh yeah, Sight Unseen—I got a good collection man. Joe Picciolo hooked it up last time I was at TransWorld. I got Cinematographer and 4-Wheel Drive.
Frontside crooked grind pop over.
This week your DC video part is premiering. Are you looking forward to that?
Not really. It's gonna be sick to have all the homeys come together, but at the same time, I have a feeling I'm gonna be pickled. If it's at The Saloon, it's hard not to be.
Is there any difference filming for a video that's going straight to the Web rather than on DVD?
It's a lot less motivating honestly. I feel like I haven't put much time into this part. I've been hurt for the last couple years—dealing with this wrist plague. This last month, since I knew my part was coming out, I started going street skating everyday. Because most of the time, I don't really have a plan if I'm just sitting in SD. Everyday when I wake up, not that many spots really come to mind. There's not that much shit to skate, so I end up going to CV [Carmel Valley] park everyday.
Is this the year you're going pro? Have you had talks with the 'Mafia Dons?
I guess it'll be a mutual decision when the Mafia homeys are down, the DC homeys are down, Rodney [Johnson]'s down. I have no say in it, I'm not in a rush to turn pro any time soon. I'm just skating.
How old are you?
When are you gonna be twenty-one?
So how are you gonna get into The Saloon this Thursday?
I guess Jimmy [Astleford] pulled some strings. That's what I'm saying, it's gonna be f—ked! I could get kicked out with the quickness.
Is this the year of the am exodus for the San Diego trifecta [Wes, Tyler Surrey, and Marius Syvanen]? You guys all going pro?
Could be, 'cause that's what Preebz [Josh Priebe] was talking about. If he's going to turn any of us pro, like me, Jamie [Palmore], Surrey, Jimmy [Cao]—we'd have to all go pro at the same time. It reminds me of the Paul Rodriguez/Mike Taylor thing. Remember when they went pro for City Stars at the same time?
How's the new addition to the team, Jimmy Cao, working out?
Dude, Jimmy Cao [laughs]! It's so G. It doesn't seem like he just got on the team because he's always been there. He should've been on the team with a board, four years ago, like from the start. It's not news to me [laughs]. It's tight to have him certified, on the 'Maf.
Frontside pop shove-it.
Shuriken and Ben Skrzypek are always with your crew, and now with Black Label under Blitz Distribution with Sk8mafia, is it just a family affair?
I heard about Shuriken's new graphic, I don't know if I'm suppose to leak it, but it's a Label graphic of a Siamese cat throwing up the "SM."
I heard about a Lucero Sk8mafia board of the old guy in the jail cell throwing up the SM.
[Whispers] I seen it. I seen it dude it's amazing. It's one of the best graphics I've ever seen and Lucero did it himself.
Frontside nosegrind pop in.
What became of the Black Mafia tour that got postponed?
I thought it was supposed to go down. We should be on it right now. It's all good, just gotta wait for the right timing. That shit's gonna be nuts.
Two weeks up to Portland, right?
I think so, D-Blaze [infamous Smolik entourage member] has been hitting me up, he lives up there. Honestly, I have texts from him from the last two, three weeks that just say "420, 420, 420, 420." It's insane. Everyday at 4:20, he texts me. Next one, "Happy 420, Sk8mafia fo life, D-Blaze, hit me up, I got yo back!" Have you seen his BGPs in Skateboarder?
It's the issue with Beauty & The Beast II. The sequence where Julien Stranger is doing a gap to back lip on a quarter pipe, he's chillin' in the background.
Is he throwin' [the SM] up?
Dude—he's got the shirt on, he's sitting there next to Koston. I called him out on it. I was like, "Yo, D-Blaze, I seen you in the magazine!" He was like, "Oh what? Fo real?!" I was like, "Yeah, I seen you up in that Skateboarder, you got BGPs! You was chillin' next to Koston." He was like, "It's funny you say that, I remember that day. I saw Koston, and I was like, 'Yo, Koston, Smolik wants to talk to you,' 'cause I had Pete on the phone." He handed Koston the phone, and Koston was like, "Pete? Smolik?" Pete yells, "Ah yeah! Koston 'n shit! Whaddup fool?!" Like, full effect, dude. So Koston is just randomly talking to Smolik at this Oregon demo. I guess D-Blaze was talking to Smolik on the phone telling him about this Girl/Antihero demo and that he was sitting next to Koston, so Smolik was just like, "Oh yeah, you next to Koston 'n shit? Throw him on the phone, oh yeah."
Have you been skating with Smolik much lately?
Nah dude, I heard he came up here recently though. Came up here and skated that new Del Mar ditch that Brian House resurfaced. It's so sick.
I want you to weigh in on the TransWorld Awards, because only pros get to vote, but this issue will come out just before the awards. Who do you like for Rookie?
Where's Vincent Alvarez? Oh wait, he's still am.
Is he one of your favorites?
Dude, ever since I went on that fist AZ trip with him when he was still riding for DC—the dude's a legend. What I distinctly remember, you know that long-ass white ledge in AZ? Homey's going mach a million, doing a switch board [slide], does the switch board 270 [out] easy as f—k, and then he literally tries this 100 times—a switch back lip. Going the same speed, mach a million. Sliding the whole thing every try, I was like, how do you have that muscle memory? I couldn't even comprehend it—just fearless—down for skating.
So who's your pick for Best Rookie?
They all rip. I'm down for Westgate, Goemann, Guru is killing it. Baca, I'm going for J. Brock though, dude. He's O.G.
What about Video Part?
I gotta give it to Shuriken. I was bumping Prophets Of Rage this morning. That's the song he used. Oh damn! [Matt] Beach is in there too? Dude what happened to Beach? He's chillin'.
In our last interview you said you wanted to skate to an Eazy-E song, so did you get one for your DC video part?
No, I wanted to. Honestly, I'd like to find a mixtape, you know what I mean? A mixtape of some G-ass beats with Eazy doing some hard-ass lyrics.
Ha, FUN!, the Powell video—that video was so fun—not [laughs]. That shit was so deadly, are you kidding me man? That was the first video I've seen, where if any of the dudes actually fell on their tricks, they would die. They're like risking their lives on a skateboard. I'd have to go with the $lave video, I was super hyped on that shit. Dude Frecks, man[laughs], Schultz, Goemann, all the Gs.
Was there a video that only came out on the Web that had as heavy of an impact? You know, like the new Lakai am video?
That video was sick, with Raven? Raven was killin' it. I try to stay away from the Web, though. I'm not too good at finding that shit. It's like finding diamonds in the rough. With my computer, I can never load any videos.
Do you check any sites daily?
No, I used to check the TransWorld site a lot when we first started doing the ‘Mafia Saturdays, checkin' the homeys, like yeah, what's the word!
Let's keep going, who was the best street skater last year?
If Busenitz is there, god damn. It doesn't get anymore street than that, you know what I mean? All that dude's footage is just on the raw streets, going really fast, pushing many a times. You should throw Gino in this category. I gotta say, Lizard definitely held it down this year. That passion, yo. Hibernating in the green room [laughs], for real dude. That front nose [Hollywood High, March 2010 cover] was hard as f—k. I was so hyped when I seen that. I've been waiting a long time for some homey to hold it down for that trick, then next thing you know homey's on the cover with the Skullcandys. That just made the whole thing right there. That was G.
Next is the Transition category.
Damn! [Alex] Perelson is in here. Mumford, wow. Jakey Brown, yeah! Mumford dude, f—kin' a. He had an internet video part, the Globe one. I remember seeing the Globe United By Fate with him, and he does this Cab nosepick. It was at Mammoth park. It was like a seven-foot quarter pipe, you bonk up to like a twelve-foot extension—Cab, nosepick, pop in. I remember I was yelling at my computer screen when I saw that. Like, you can do that?
What's after Transition? Team?
They're all ill. That's tight 'Mafia is in there. I'm hyped—Mafia gettin' love. I'm hyped the homeys are hyped dude. Homeys are down for the underdogs. Let's see best team? I can't really go for one specific team, you know? Everyone's skating [laughs].
I know you've been traveling a lot with DC the last couple years, where's the most remote place you've seen kids rocking Sk8mafia gear?
I've honestly seen homeys rocking Mafia in Taiwan.
Was it bootleg stuff?
No, I wish I woulda seen some of that. Actually I saw some kid with a bootleg T-shirt at the skatepark around here the other week. He took a white T-shirt, threw down some tape, taped out the Mafia logo and spray painted it.
Cool, I think that's enough stuff.
I'm glad this time it was PG, instead of just straight G [laughs].